NEO Scavenger (Preview)
Do you remember those “choose your own adventure” books from school? Okay, maybe if you were a child of the 80’s like me, you would. They tell a story, but give the reader a few different options during certain points, advising them to turn to a particular page depending on what they want to do. NEO Scavenger reminds me of these books and I have to say, it’s a refreshing change of pace.
Before we begin, I’d like to thank Daniel Fedor for setting me up with a free preview copy. It should be noted however that this game is still in the Beta stage, so everything you see here may be subject to change. I’m told that the estimated release date is Spring 2013, though that can change based on a number of different factors.
First, I like that the game can be played in the website’s browser as a flash game or downloaded and played via a program like Adobe Flash Player. If I’m out and about, I can get my NEO Scavenger fix simply by going to the official website, which I linked at the end of this article. Since this is a preview and the features are subject to change, I’ll opt instead to describe my first experience in the wasteland…which lasted all of ten minutes.
After clicking “Play”, I was prompted to pick some traits for my character that modified my stats. These traits will affect what options you have when presented with certain encounters. I picked “strong”, “medic”, “metabolism”, and “tough”. My game started inside some sort of cryo facility and the text told me that I didn’t know who I was. What’s worse, a scream could be heard and something was headed my way.
I used my “medic” trait and activated another tube that was nearby, causing its occupant to be released from whatever stasis it was in. After the monster took the person I sacrificed off to who knows where, I scrounged the area and climbed out the window where my journey truly began.
At first, I didn’t really know what I was doing. The character’s inventory screen lets you move items between the ground and whatever bag / backpack you happen to have, which in my case, was none. I moved around to nearby hexes and saw water, but had no way to collect it. I picked up some notes that contained recipes along with some miscellaneous yellow berries.
My temperature indicator was dropping, which was telling me that I was getting colder. I had no shoes or decent clothes to ward off the elements, so I kept going east from my starting location and eventually came to a town. I found a plastic bag, which I equipped in my backpack slot. Now I was able to move the items I had in my hands into the bag. The bag didn’t hold very much though.
I watched as another character walked onto my hex…my first encounter! It was a bandit with no weapons like myself. We both appeared to have the same traits so I decided to chance it by engaging him. In encounters like these, you’re given many different options, though some of them are only available depending on your range from the creature and your current stance. I chose to “charge” the bandit, knocking him down and giving me a free turn. I “kicked” him afterward, causing him to stay down and giving me more free turns. I must have kicked him for about five turns until finally he got up. I performed melee attacks afterwards and watched as his status began to que up all of these negative modifiers like “bleeding” and so on…eventually he died and I looted his corpse. I was awarded with jeans, a shirt, more plastic bags, a can of food, water bottles, and some other goodies.
I was well on my way and searched town and the surrounding areas for more stuff when another bandit showed up…this one had a crowbar. I tried running, but this guy beat the crap out of me and I suffered a horrible death. This game is apparently very brutal and doesn’t hold your hand much…but I enjoyed my experience and intend to try again.
The item management mechanic was probably what appealed to me the most. You’re only given so many slots and you have to decide what to take with you when you can’t hold everything. I also like how the traits you have picked can be used to modify your end result in regards to encounters, whether you are looting an area or fighting for your life.
From what I’ve played so far, I can easily see myself easily dropping an entire afternoon into this game. In fact, after I’m done here, I intend to create redshirt number two, followed by three, four, five, and six. If you’re a fan of games like Rouge and FTL that feature permadeath & RPG mechanics, then I recommend you take a look at “NEO Scavenger.”
You can learn more about “NEO Scavenger” and try the demo by visiting the following website:
You can support this game’s journey onto Steam by checking out its Greenlight page, located here:
You can read a play session that I documented on 10/30/12, here:
You can view video play sessions here: